Euroleague Weekly Review
by Erildas Budraitis
After the ninth week of Euroleage play, 11 teams can now feel safe and begin thinking about the Top 16 stage. Next week we will know the other five teams, which will continue their performance in Europe’s strongest competition.
This week, some teams showed excellent preparation for the most important games of the season. Partizan Belgrade destroyed Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius by 30 points (97-67) and became the third team in Group B to make the Top 16. Maccabi Tel Aviv and Khimki Moscow Region grabbed easy home wins and also earned spots in the Top 16.
While other teams are preparing for the last week of Euroleague regular season play, the undoubted Group A leader Regal Barcelona is looking for its 10th win in a row. Last week, Regal Barcelona had no problems in the match with Asvel Villeurbanne (90-64) and now they have high odds of becoming the Euroleage’s best regular season team – everything depends on the last tour game against Montepaschi Siena.
This week we will talk about how the league’s leader can lose to an outsider in one quarter. The Euroleague – Where Surprise Happens. Unicaja Malaga played well three quarters against Entente Orleanaise, but lost the game in 4th.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Before the ninth Euroleague tour, Unicaja Malaga had a place in the Top 16 and was a competitor for the first place in Group B. But, for sure, every game is important and nobody wants to lose at home, especially for league outsider Entente Orleanaise. However, Unicaja let their opponents score 32 points in the last 10 minutes and lost the game 72-88.
The Spaniards started the game perfectly and after the 1st quarter, they were leading by 7 points. After that, Unicaja slowed down and the guests used the chance to takeover Malaga. Entente Orleanaise played an excellent 4th quarter and Unicaja lost their third game this season.
Cedrick Banks, ex-UIC star, led Entente Orleanaise with 23 points. Justin Doellman added 18 points and 6 rebounds.
For Unicaja, Georgios Printezis dropped 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. 2006 Portland Trail Blazers’ first round pick Joel Freeland ended the game with 9 points.
“Entente Orleanaise had better mentality than us. We played more relaxed because we knew nothing was at stake for us. Apart from that, they killed us with their three-pointers,” said Unicaja head coach Aito Garcia Reneses. Of course, it wasn’t a do-or-die type game, but they also lost the last Spanish’s league game against Caja Laboral Vitoria (71-86). These are signs that Unicaja, one of Spain’s top clubs, still has room to improve before the Top 16 starts.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Olympiakos Piraeus’s playmaker Milos Teodosic and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s guard Chuck Eidson, shared this week’s Euroleague MVP award. Both players got 34 index ranking points.
Milos Teodosic, in a tough game against Efes Pilsen Istanbul, scored 17 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists. Last season’s Eurocup MVP, Eidson, ended last week’s game with 23 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Third in this week’s rankings, was Montepaschi Siena’s forward Ksistof Lavrinovic, who scored 20 points and grabbed 6 boards.
Next week we will find out the final five teams that will qualify for the Top 16, and which teams will end their Euroleage season. Who is hot and is not!